In May this year I paddle boarded the length of England - 400 miles from Surrey to Lake District - all in the name of #PlasticPatrol.
During that 22 day challenge I photographed and location-tagged every single piece of plastic I saw along my route, and then uploaded them onto a map to scale my findings to locate the problem areas across our waterways.
Two months on and the mapping is complete. I've been able to identify where the hotspots are. As you might expect, the more densely populated areas (in and out of major towns and cities), the more plastic pollution I plotted. But there were some areas more severely polluted, and spanned over longer stretches of waterways, than others.
But the four areas that stood out the most were: Coventry, Tamworth, Stoke-on-Trent and Manchester.
The plan now? I'm going to re-visit these hotspots and give them a spruce up with support from double Olympic silver medalist, Rich Hounslow, who has just stepped off the plane from Rio.
Starting on 19th September, we'll spend three days and picking up and removing all the plastic we encounter in these places. And I would LOVE you to join us. Whether that's on the water with your own board or canoe, or simply walking along the towpaths. How you do it doesn't matter, what's important is that you want to help make a difference.
- Tamworth - 19th September - 10.30am start
- Nuneaton - 19th September - 2.30pm start
- Stoke on Trent - 20th September - 10.30am start
- Manchester - 21st September - 10.30am start
All you need to do is keep an eye on the tracker on my homepage (it's very accurate, don't worry) and come and join us if and when we're nearby.
You don't need to bring anything - the wonderful folk at Canal and River Trust have that all sorted. Just come along and get involved.
And what if you're not nearby or can't make it but want to pledge support? Fear not. The map I created to plot all my plastic findings is set up to now capture your #PlasticPatrol findings too. Simply make sure you use the hashtag and add your location to the photo and tah-dah, you've played a part too.
Roll on Monday, and I hope to see you all over the next few days.